Kaylee Phillips is the CEO of Tin Wagon Boutique, located in Gillette, Wyoming. The main message behind her brand is equipping women with the style and the confidence to pursue their dreams. She recently renovated her storefront, and we won’t lie, it is stunning! Kaylee gave us some backstory on how she came to be a boutique owner and shared some vital advice for all aspiring small business owners. You will be inspired by Kaylee’s boutique success story!
Give us some insight into who you are and why you decided to become a boutique owner?
I have always had an entrepreneurial heart. When I was in the third grade my parents enrolled me in dance lessons and from that moment until the time I graduated High School, I knew I was going to be a business owner. I was naturally good at dance, and I thought it would be so cool to create a career out of something I loved. So I took the idea of opening my own dance school and ran with it.
I got a job at a boutique during my third year of college. I felt right at home in the retail space. After graduating college I had been recruited as an Assistant Manager at a chain boutique store. I got to learn the back end of running a business and leading a team and I could tell my passion had shifted from dance to retail! I worked for that store for 2 years until my then-fiance and I decided we wanted to settle down closer to my family.
However, I still was planning on opening my dance school, I think I was having a hard time not following through with my life plan, so I continued! I started my plan of opening the studio, but my gut and my heart were telling me that was not my path anymore. I missed retail and I knew my heart would not be fulfilled through dance.
I told my family I had changed my mind and that I was going to open a boutique. That was 4.5 years ago and wow what a journey it has been! I couldn’t imagine not being in the retail space, I am so thankful I listened to my gut and went after it!
“I couldn’t imagine not being in the retail space, I am so thankful I listened to my gut and went after it!”
What are the must-have elements in your store?
The must-have elements for my store would be my handmade displays that my husband has built me. Over the years he has really begun to love doing it for me and he sees the value in creating a space that is original and “loved” if you will.
For me, a boutique space should tell a story and it should speak to your audience even if there is no inventory hanging on the racks or folded on the tables. The displays and the fixtures are the foundation to the overall story and the layers that get added once the inventory gets merchandised onto it. To some, that may sound silly.
But the displays should tell your audience where it is you want them to go next, it should tell them about the quality of the products, it should make them feel connected to the products even without touching them.
What tips could you give other boutique owners if they want to open a storefront?
Have confidence! Confidence in your ability, confidence in WHO you are, confidence that even when you fail, you will learn from it and keep going.
When I first started, I let other boutique owners influence me. Whether it was my inventory, my displays, my pictures, etc. I think sometimes we have to learn this for ourselves, but we all hear it… be original and authentic. That is the truth! I didn’t start really growing until I found myself, and I started doing what came naturally to me instead of doing what I saw other people in the industry doing.
About a year into running my business I started doing weekly personal development. I started listening to podcasts, reading self-improvement books, and taking time to truly elevate myself internally. When I started taking those types of actions I saw a huge positive shift in all areas of my life.
Whatever path you choose in life, I think it is most important to uplift people and try your very best to set a positive example and not bring others down.
Check out the Tin Wagon Boutique’s Shop the Best Boutiques Profile Here——–> Tin Wagon The Finery
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